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May 2012 Archives

May 1, 2012

Disneyland Update - 4/29/12

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Jason has been doing a wonderful job with all of the Disneyland photo updates but he has been at WDW recently, so I'm going to try my best to provide this week's update. But I didn't get photos from all of the vantage points he uses, nor am I as good a photographer.

Lee and I decided it was time for a trip to Disneyland - we hadn't been there since February! We arrived in the park about 8:45 am.  Long lines to get in but once inside it was fairly uncrowded.  We got fastpasses for Space Mountain, and since the standby line for Star Tours was only 25 minutes we did that.  It was actually less than 20 minutes before we were seated in our Star Speeder.   I'd never been on the left side of the queue where the baggage scanner is, and it was fun to listen to him - he commented on the "pet" that someone had put in their luggage...see the Mickey ears? :-)

We are in a "Hoth" rut lately - that's the first scene we've had the last 4-5 times, though the other scenes we've had quite a variety.  ("Hoth...why did it have to be Hoth?")

The line for Buzz was only about 5 minutes.  Buzz was apparently on an extended break - there was a curtain around his area. Or maybe we were supposed to ignore the spaceman behind the curtain. :-).  We vanquished Zurg, and, most importantly, my score was higher than Lee's. 

Time for our Space Mountain fastpasses, though the standby was still only 30 minutes. It was fast and fun!

The scaffolding is gone from the Matterhorn. I think the paint job looks a lot different - not nearly as much "snow".   It will reopen with the new bobsled cars on June 15.  

We went to the Jolly Holiday Bakery for a snack. We tried the broccoli quiche which came with fruit.  It was served hot and was pretty good.  Lee also ordered the scone.  It had raisins and some kind of pieces or citrus peel or something in it - I didn't care for it.  I ordered the Matterhorn macaroon, and that was a lot better.  

I'd never noticed the back of the Jolly Holiday Cafe sign before.

I thought the blooming trees in the hub were very pretty. It was a beautiful day today - blue sky and warm, but not too hot.

We stopped by the Carnation Plaza Garden - today is the final day before it closes for conversion to the new Fantasy Faire (opening 2013). They had school bands from all over the western US performing today, as well as a band from Canada.  (The popular Saturday night swing dancing will move to the Westside Stage in Downtown Disney during construction, then will move back to the new Fantasy Faire stage.)

In Frontierland we rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad -  just less than 20 minute wait for that. It's the wildest ride in the wilderness!

We went to Big Thunder Ranch to see if there was anything to see or any information on the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree which start this Thursday (May 3), but there was nothing except the closed gate to the Festival Arena. 

Haunted Mansion was less than a ten minute wait.  I'm so used to riding this during the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay that it seems odd to ride it in its "normal" configuration.  I don't know if people were being quieter than usual or if the sound is better, but I heard a lot of different voices singing in the graveyard scene.  

It's time for another round of menu updates on AllEars, so I was taking menu photos as we wandered around.   I didn't really see anything that looked different, though - the biggest change I saw is that they have converted the menus at Tomorrowland Terrace to LCD screens.  That look might not fit the theme in some areas of the park, but it works there.  And I'm sure it'll make updating the menus easier - just a software change now.

I called this the "Aly San San Tres Leches Cake" dessert in Rancho del Zocalo. :-) That's what it looks like to me. (Aly San San is the spokesdroid for Star Tours.)

Disneyland was getting more crowded so it was time to hop over to Disney California Adventure.  The construction has reached the point that things are visibly changing rapidly now!  

We caught a little bit of Minnie's Fly Girls Charter Airline show.

Jason takes his Buena Vista Street progress photos from the monorail but I didn't think to do that while we were still in Disneyland, so I just have some ground level shots.  I have to say that it looks quite beautiful  and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product soon!  There's that June 15 opening date again.

Here's the east side of Buena Vista Street.

And a look on the west side, where the bakery and ice cream shop used to be.

The Carthay Circle Theater is a beautiful building.

All of the ElecTRONica setup is gone with the exception of the food truck - and they are going to have to change the "12" number on the Stage 12 sign - that's very TRON-esque.

But they have already begun the Mad T Party re-theming of the stage - another thing with a June 15 opening date.

And the club area is now the House of Cards.

I don't know what this structure is in front of what used to be Flynn's Arcade, but there are lots of lights and speakers in it.

Some part of the Disney Performing Arts program will be relocated from the Carnation Plaza Gardens to the Backlot Stage. 

We thought this flower field next to It's Tough to Be a Bug was very pretty. 

From the terrace outside Blue Sky Cellar there's a really good view down Route 66 into downtown Radiator Springs. This looks great! And opening, all together now, JUNE 15!

Blue Sky Cellar now features "The Road to Cars Land"' with concept art and models and attraction posters.

I liked this model of Mater's Jukebox - it will feature seven original songs.

The movie seems longer than the ones they have had before - of course I guess this time they are talking about a whole new land instead of a single attraction or show, so there is more to say.  

We walked through the Pacific Wharf. The old Tortilla Factory is under wraps while it transforms in Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, opening this summer. I'm looking forward to that, but I expect the line will be horrendous.

Between Lucky Fortune Cookery and the Karl Strauss Biergarten there will be a second entrance into Cars Land, under a big red rock archway.

We had planned to ride California Screamin' but the line was 40 minutes and Toy Story Mania was 50.   Busy day at the park!

We had lunch at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta and Paradise Garden Grill.  While there were no lines in the restaurants the seating area was pretty full - it's nice to see that, since this area seemed very under-utilized when it first opened last year. Lee had the barbecue chicken flatbread pizza.

I had my usual vegetable and tofu skewer from Paradise Garden Grill - though this time I remembered to ask for a second portion of rice pilaf in place of the cucumber salad.

We also tried the Espresso brownie from Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta. It was a very good brownie. There was no "espresso" in the brownie itself, just in the little round things on top, and even those did not have much coffee flavor. We really liked it.

Lee noticed the propeller on the front of this weather vane above Goofy's Sky School was spinning madly (though you can't see it in the photo).

A view of some of the Cadillac Range - June 15 is coming soon!

We walked back to the Mickey and Friends parking structure via Downtown Disney. The Uva Bar area is undergoing some kind of refurbishment.

These banners are up in the tram area next to the garage - we did two out of three on this list!

It was a fun trip, and we enjoyed doing some attractions for a change - most of the time we just run around and take pictures.

May 2, 2012

Disneyland Paris: Disney Dreams

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Preamble
Part 1.
Part 2.

So about a week or two before I arrived there, DLP had premiered its marquee event for the anniversary celebrations, Disney Dreams: A nighttime spectacular that combines fireworks and water projections and castle projections all into one big show. Joe Schott, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of DLP, told us that he had asked Steve Davison, Vice President for Parades and Spectaculars at Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, to come up with a show they could spotlight for the 20th Anniversary only 13 months earlier--making the accomplishment of wedding all these disparate elements into one show that much more impressive.

Here's a video on the making of Disney Dreams:

The first night I was there, Dreams was shown twice, despite the fact that it was lightly raining.

Travel Tip #3: Pick up your map and show schedule when you first enter the park.

Unlike the US parks, in which you can usually always pick up a map and a show schedule in any store or from any available custodial CM, the only place I ever found them in DLP was at the entrance or in the AP center. I actually asked around for a show schedule once I was in the park, but apparently did a poor job at explaining what I was looking for, as the response was "I don't think we have those."

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The show is done in an interesting hybrid of English and French. As far as I can tell, any character who was obviously French, such as Remy, Lumiere, or Quasimoto, all spoke and sang in French. Main characters who were not French, like Peter Pan, King Louie, and Rapunzel, spoke and sang in English. Captain Hook and Wendy only spoke in French.

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Although it sounds a little confusing, the storyline isn't really so involved that it takes much to follow it--Peter Pan and Wendy are admiring the magical Second Star to the Right, when Peter's shadow takes it into its head to run away. On trying to elude Peter, the shadow inadvertently lets all the magic drain out of the star, causing all manner of Heck to break loose.

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At first, as these stories do tend to go, the musical interludes are happy and inviting for Peter's shadow, using numbers like "Be Our Guest," and "Step in Time," but eventually turn darker as villains such as Dr. Facilier start menacing him/it.

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Eventually Peter swoops in to save the day, and everyone lives Happily Ever After, as you do.

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The first showing was broadcast online, and one of the questions was whether it would look as awesome in person. I am here to tell you that, yes, it does. All the lights and projectors must be the next generation editions, because the visuals are exceptionally clear on the castle. The fireworks are integrated well into the show and really work as accents. Although the water screens on either side of the castle are effective, I actually thought they were the most dispensible part, as a lot of the time I felt like I was trying to look past them to what was happening on the castle.

To see the show, some people like to be further back towards Main Street, so they can get a better view of the water screens, but I actually found I liked it better up close because it was easier to see the projections at the base of the castle. As with World of Color however, the spray from the screens does start pelting the people in front...and when the temperatures were in the thirties and forties, as they were when I was there, that can quickly become a huge drag.

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Some nights the park closed at 9:30pm and they had one show at closing, and some nights the park closed at 11, in which case they had one show around 10 and a second showing at 11. My findings were that, on the days with two shows, absolutely everyone in the park went to the first show, leaving all the other attractions complete walk-ons, and no one went to the second one, making it possible to stand pretty much wherever you wanted to watch it. (Whether this was because everyone had to leave to catch a train back to town or something, I never found out.)

In any case, it is a stunning show, and, I think, the best of Davison's recent productions. He's clearly learned from his experiences with World of Color and Tokyo DisneySeas' Fantasmic! and created a show much more easily viewed from different angles. As good as it looks in the video below, it is easily twice as striking in person, so my advice? Get your passport in order.

Next: Is A Parade In Town?

May 7, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Saturday, May 5, 2012. Quite a few changes, so we will be presenting his blog in three parts: Disneyland, DCA, and Downtown Disney.


This past week the Gibson Girl, Penny Arcade, and Candy Palace have reopened on Main Street USA at Disneyland.First stop the Gibson Girl. They have moved the counter all the way to the back so there is plenty of space for the queue now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The menu appears to be the same.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Still a couple of tables inside but not much seating.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

There is a nice window now to watch them make the waffle cones and bowls.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


A look at some of the detail around the room.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Stepping next door to the Penny Arcade.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Some of the machines from the arcade are still around but integrated into the displays.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

All restored and looking/sounding great!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


A look at the front display case.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The candy kitchen has been enlarged and there are several windows/stations now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


The small indoor seating area for Coke Corner is now gone and a place to sell more candy.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

April 29 marked the end of Plaza Gardens as we know it. Walls are up and the transformation to the Princess Fantasy Faire has begun.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Speakers for Grad Night are up around the hub.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

There is still a narrow walkway open to get to Fantasyland and for pictures of the Castle.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

With Plaza Gardens gone they have moved the Performing Arts groups out to the Big Thunder Ranch as part of the Jamboree taking place in the Festival Arena. The Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree opened May 3.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

It appears they have added some more covers to the area for shade.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

A few tables with wood carving going on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The set up is very much like the Family Fun Days. With a kids activity area in the middle.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The stage being readied for the next performance.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

A couple of ODV carts. They received signage for the event.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Cowboy Mickey out for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Look familiar? The cows that used to be in the Bountiful Farm area and then backstage at DCA for the past couple of years have made their way to the Jamboree.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Cowgirl Minnie was also out roaming around.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Chip and Dale were running around causing trouble..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Another cow lurking in the bushes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Chip and Dale caught Donald...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

But he broke free eventually.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Time for the Cowboy Roundup. This happens twice a day over the weekend, high noon and 2:15pm this weekend.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Mickey and Minnie taking in the show.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Farley the Fiddler and Miss Chris host the round-up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

There are a set of dancers too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Here is a video of the performance.

Big Al came out for pictures. Still great to see him in the park and listen to the fans.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Goofy was in the second wave of characters too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The Irvington Wind Ensemble.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

One of the tables set up for coloring.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Walked by the Matterhorn. All the scaffolding is down from the mountain as well as the station.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Some water has returned too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Tomorrowland Terrace has new menu boards. I think the menu items are the same. (Laura's note: Yes, the menu is the same, not even a price change.)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Hmm the seagulls flew away from the submarine lagoon??

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Thought this was fun. A table set up with a puzzle as you walked through the stores on Main Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


From the monorail here are some Matterhorn pictures as we circled Tomorrowland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

They were cycling some bobsleds this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The back nose cone of Monorail Orange has a wrap. Guessing this is to help with the heat in there.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The shooting gallery in Frontierland is being worked on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Looks like they were or are going to be working on one of the Fantasmic units in the river. They have the walls up. There was water in there, just a bit lower than the river level.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Some work going on in New Orleans Square making for some tight walkways.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The companion restroom in the Oasis is open, but nothing else going on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Made a second pass through the Jamboree. Two more Country Bears out having fun. Here they were playing the drums.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Goofy joining the gang.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

A choir performing.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Big Al was checking out the wood carving.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Elvis, Scot Bruce, was at the Tomorrowland Terrace and he had quite a few couples dancing there too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Time for Magical (it premiered Friday night for the summer).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3, with updates from DCA and Downtown Disney. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com. I have also been Tweeting live pictures from the parks @disneygeekcom.



May 8, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Saturday, May 5, 2012. Part 1 covered Disneyland Park, in Part 2, Jason looks at what's new in Disney California Adventure.

Beginning on Buena Vista Street. Oswald's has its signage now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

A quick look at Buena Vista Street. Less than six weeks till opening now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

The Soarin' sign has been replaced/fixed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

No visible changes to the Taste Pilot's Grill sign.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

The Carthay is nearing completion. All the scaffolding is gone and the marquee looks ready to go.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Painters working this morning.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

The bridge is looking complete, notice the lights on it now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

A sign being painted on the side of the cafe.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Caught a little of the Minnie Fly Girls Charter Airline show. They had a traditional Minnie in the show, the one with the articulating head was not used. Also she lost her cap while taking the stage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Some work going on above Off the Page.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

The studios section of the Backlot is being taken over by the Mad T Party.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

The bar area looks more stationary now compared to ElecTRONica and Glow Fest where it was rolled in nightly.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Plenty of signs telling you what is coming.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

The main stage is set to look like a table and features a lot of lights and an led/video wall. Also note it is set up to open toward the other stage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Moving on toward the House of Cards. Another impressive structure.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


They were working on coating the cement.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

There will be an arcade as part of the party too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

The Catering Co truck has had the ElecTRONica wrap removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


The cab photo op outside Monsters, Inc. has not returned.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

The gate was open into Cars Land. Cast member families were invited to test out the flying tires attraction.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


The old It's Tough to Be a Bug Fastpass machine area is behind wraps. Internet speculation is this will be used as the Fastpass distribution area for the Radiator Springs Racers to help with the expected crowding this summer. (Note the Racers do have their own FP area but rumor is it will not be used till things calm down).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Pluto out for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Chip and Dale trying to get some ice cream.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Route 66 has been resurfaced. Guessing this is the final surface which means things are on the final stretch.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Looks like the line for the Flying Tires... only six more weeks and we can be spending hours in line there too!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


The Little Mermaid was closed for a few days while I was gone for some upkeep. They switched out the CG film clips with traditional animation.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

And the big change is Ariel now sports a new hairdo in the Under the Sea area. The ice cream cone do is gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Here is a ride through video.

Another new animation clip.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


The California Screamin' queue work is done.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

The stand has been removed from near the swings (this is the icee one).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


Here is a look at Buena Vista Street from Monorail Blue.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

A second pass through DCA on Monorail Orange. The new Candy Store sign is installed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


Heading back to DCA. What a difference as you approach the park now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


Forgot to mention the Cars gang has moved on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

But the merchandise booths remain.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

No parade lights yet in this area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

The setting sun made for some great lighting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Time for a spin on the Fun Wheel.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


Two Racers were stopped on the track. Wonder if it was a planned stop? They were in a perfect photo location. Also noticed the Finish line sign is now up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


The lights were turned on by my second time around. Looks like all the neon is now on Flos

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Guess they are not covering the remaining portion of the backside?

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


Now some ground level shots.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2

The radar dish/Condor Flats sign has been removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


Made a quick pass through DCA later in the evening to see Cars Land. The photos make the rocks look much more red than they did in person.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/5/12 Part 2


Part 3 will feature photos from Downtown Disney. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com. I have also been Tweeting live pictures from the parks @disneygeekcom.



May 11, 2012

A Window for Disney Legend Alice Davis

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On May 10, the Disneyland Resort honored Disney Legend Alice Davis with her own window on Main Street, USA--one of the most important acknowledgements the company gives to individuals who have made significant contributions to the park.

Davis worked in costuming and was originally brought into Disney to create a Briar Rose costume for the live-action reference model Helene Stanley, during the making of Sleeping Beauty. She later went on to research and design costumes for many of Disneyland's seminal attractions such as It's A Small World, and Pirates of the Caribbean, about which she occasionally quips "I went from dressing sweet children to dirty old men."

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Davis' window was placed next to that of the late Marc Davis, one of the original "nine old men" of Disney animation, and Alice's husband of 44 years.

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The ceremony started off with the Dapper Dans performing several numbers as the audience arrived.

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Beneath the concealed window were several displays of Davis' work.

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What is evident at a close-up view, is how detailed all the costumes are, and all the work that went into making them look perfect from every angle.

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Davis has related that she asked Walt what her budget was for all the Small World costumes--he responded that they didn't think about things like that--that she was just to dress the dolls so that every girl from 10 to 100 years old would want to play with them. Coming from a background where toys were sparse when she was young, she counted this as one of her favorite professional projects.

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As the program started, both Disneyland Resort president George Kalogridis and Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs said a few words honoring Davis and sharing some of her remarkable accomplishments.

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Staggs' talk was quickly derailed however, when a marauding band of pirates broke onto the scene looking for Davis. After having spent half a century in the same clothes, they were looking to see if she could whip them up something "a little more fashionable."

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Not getting a favorable response, they settled on serenading her with "Alice Davis, She Put the Pants on Me," sung to the tune of "Yo ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me."

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Staggs eventually wrested control back from the pirates, who took a last shot at him by remarking on his suit, to which he responded, "Alice didn't dress me!" "We can tell," they retorted.

Mickey Mouse then came out and they finally uncovered her window with a blast of streamers.

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...And Alice and Marc were once again reunited on Main Street.

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Finally, Davis herself took the podium and said a few words of thanks. She said she would always walk down Main Street, look up at Marc's window, see the blank one next to it, and hope that someday it would be hers. "I was wishing for it, and wishing for it, and today, the Day has Come."

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She further noted that she was most proud of all the many friends that she had made and which were present in the audience as they represented real wealth to her. "For years, both Marc and I have had the great pleasure of bringing great fun and joy to people, and that was the Jewelry of our Heart and it will always be."

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Kalogridis then presented her with a minature version of the window for her own, and the Dapper Dans returned to sing "When You Wish Upon A Star" to close out the ceremony.

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It was a lovely ceremony, and a well-deserved and long-awaited honor to a fabulously accomplished Imagineer. Congratulations Alice!

May 12, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com concludes his photo update from his trip to the parks on Saturday, May 5, 2012.

If you missed the earlier blogs, here is PART 1 and PART 2


In Downtown Disney the Lego Store has reopened.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

It now has several displays outside.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3


And an area to build and play in.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

Stepping inside to look around.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

Heading upstairs.. There is a small room for building that overlooks the store.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

A look around the room.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

The view out the window.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3


Heading back down.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3


The temporary Lego store is all closed up waiting for what will takes its place.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

The Uva Bar area is behind walls for some work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

Near D Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3


The sun glass store is being worked on and closed right now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3


A good size crowd down by the main stage where the Swing Dancing has been relocated on Saturday nights.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/05/12 - Part 3


Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com. I have also been Tweeting live pictures from the parks @disneygeekcom.



May 13, 2012

Disneyland Paris: Magic on Parade!

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Preamble
Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.

So as another component to their 20th anniversary celebration, Disneyland Paris added in a new/updated parade and "Disney's 20th Anniversary Celebration Train."

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This was something I hadn't seen before: The train, containing a number of characters, starts off down Main St. like a traditional parade, circles around the hub, and then stops. At this point, I thought maybe they would all put on a show or something.

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Turns out, not so much. The characters get off the train and then the CMs escort each one straight out into the mob of guests, and at some point in the morass of humanity, just stop...and that's where their meet n'greet takes place. The density of people around them was pretty impressive, and I was constantly surprised at the lack of bloodshed.

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Their new parade however, Disney Magic on Parade! is a little more substantial.

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The floats reminded me a little of the old Parade of Dreams from Disneyland's 50th anniversary, although perhaps a little less elaborate, with fewer moving parts. Magic on Parade apparently is an updated version of the parade they had been running for awhile, with a few additions and new segments.

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Travel Tip #4: Consider a tour.

One of the activities I enjoyed towards the end of my trip was taking one of the guided tours of the park. I'll give a little more detail about it later, but one of the perks of taking it was getting reserved viewing of the parade. Because it was my last day and I had already planned some different activities for the rest of the afternoon (and I had already seen the parade a couple times,) I actually didn't get to take advantage of that, but it's something I would definitely consider doing earlier in my trip next time.

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The music is catchy enough, but I might wish for the song to be a tad longer, as it did seem as though you heard the refrain quite a few times by the end of the parade.

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In any case, it's a perfectly respectable parade without any of the show stops or dance parties that so many of Disney's contemporary parades seem to find essential. I am thumbs up on it.

Next time: Special Events with the Disneyana Fan Club.

May 14, 2012

Disney California Adventure Press Preview Part 1 - 5/10/12

Since Laura was in a week-long training class at work, I (Lee) had the opportunity to take her place at a press event Disney put on for Southern California media to get a look behind the scenes at all the changes coming to the Disneyland Resort this Summer - especially the opening of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land at California Adventure.

This is Part One!

The first half of the event took place in what Disney calls its Cast Showcase at California Adventure. This is an immersive education venue that Disney built to familiarize all 22,000 Disneyland Resort cast members with all the changes taking place around the Disneyland Resort. The Showcase is currently occupying the soundstage venue at California Adventure that is used to hold Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. For those who have been through the Narnia or other "behind the scenes" exhibits for various films that have been installed at Disney Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, this has the same sort of feel. The Cast Showcase is supposed to run for 20 days.

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Our visit to the Cast Showcase began with a welcome by Tom Staggs, Chairman Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Tom said that Disney recognized that California Adventure was not living up to its potential and began a five year program to remake the park. Highlights so far include extensive changes to the Paradise Pier area, the Little Mermaid attraction, and the World of Color show. The re-imagined entrance and hub for California Adventure, Buena Vista Street, and the new 12-acre Cars Land complete that five-year effort. He explained that the Showcase covers not just the changes at California Adventure but also at Disneyland and Downtown Disney. It is not just about attractions but also about merchandising, food and beverage and entertainment. He remarked that when they re-open California Adventure it will finally be a worthy and complementary neighbor to Disneyland. Re-open was a deliberate choice of words - Disney views the magnitude of the changes and the shift in the story of California Adventure to be significant enough that they are considering this a second Grand Opening for the park.

Tom then circled back to talk about the Disney cast members who he said are the key to bringing the worlds that the Disney Imagineers build to life and to the guest experience. He said that the cast members will visit the Showcase because they love what they do - they are Disney fans and they want to know as much as possible to help their guests.

As his parting shot Tom shared a secret - along with all the other changes coming June 15th, there will be a new segment in World of Color featuring Pixar's latest animated feature 'Brave'.

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From here on out the Cast Showcase experience was what the cast members will see. The first room includes displays on the renovated Matterhorn - including one of the new ride vehicles - on the Mad T Party dance party coming to California Adventure (replacing ElecTRONica), and the new Fantasy Faire "Princess experience" area coming to Disneyland.This area also features a kitchen set for the "The Happy Chef" who acts as the master-of-ceremonies for this area of the exhibit. She is putting on a cooking demonstration making a celebratory cake and with each ingredient she adds to the cake there is a video segment from a Disney executive talking about an aspect of the changes. The first video is from George Kalogridis, President of Disneyland Resort, who greets the 22,000 cast members and Imagineers of Disneyland Resort and welcomes them to the cast showcase. He tells the cast members that this is the second largest expansion in the history of the Disneyland Resort and that "the happiest place on Earth just got happier."

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Artist concept drawings for the new Fantasy Faire "Princess experience" under construction at Disneyland

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A signboard explaining changes that will be coming to the Pixie Hollow character greeting area in Disneyland this Fall


Another of the video segments talks to all the changes taking place in Downtown Disney. Those changes include the extensive renovations to the Disneyland Hotel including replacing all the electrical and plumbing, expanding the rooms into the former balcony areas, and upgrading the furniture, carpet, and fittings. Other highlights include the renovated Lego store (we are getting giant Lego sculptures like those at Walt Disney World), the new Wunderground Gallery (Disney collectables), the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant (yea!) and the expanded La Brea Bakery.

The next video segment highlights the recently completed renovations to the "400 block" of Main Street in Disneyland. These changes include complete interior remodels of all the shops and restaurants, most in the Victorian style. The candy store now has a candy kitchen that is twice as big so guests can see two kinds of candy being made at once. The shops have more room for guests to move around and more cash registers to shorten waits to check out. The service area at the GIbson Girl ice cream shop has been moved back into the shop so the queue will now be inside instead of spilling out onto Main Street.

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The new Matterhorn ride vehicles

The segment highlighting changes within the Parks included a section on the Matterhorn. This is the first time it's been scaffolded since it was built which allowed them to paint it a new color and add new "snow", and is the first major rehab since 1978. The new ride vehicles are each two connected cars, each with three individual seat compartments instead of the single (shared) set compartment. They are building a new load area to support both a single rider line and load/unload for guests who need "assistance". The Matterhorn re-opens on June 15th.

The changeover from ElecTRONica to Mad T Party in the Hollywood area of California Adventure is almost complete - with a new central stage and the new House of Cards that replaces Flynn's Arcade. The featured act for the Mad T Party is the Mad T Party Band that includes the Mad Hatter and Alice as band members. They will perform for twenty minutes out of every hour and tunes the rest of the hour will be provided by a DJ (see the picture with the glowing bunny ears). There will be professional dancers featured at the House of Cards along with, if Glowfest and ElecTRONica are any indication, lots of dancing guests.

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Costumes for Alice and the Mad Hatter

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The Mad T Party DJ's costume

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Artist concept for the main stage for the Mad T Party

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Some of the merchandise that will be available at the Mad T Party

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Special food items that will be for sale at the Mad T Party

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The drinks available at the Mad T Party come in very interesting cups

There has been no formal announcement made that we are aware of, but there is a note on the map of California Adventure entertainment below, that reads "Daytime fountain show - our famous Paradise Pier fountains perform, dance and play - in the day".

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This map highlights the live performers and character "meet and greet" opportunities around California Adventure


We then moved to the second room in the exhibit - this one decorated like 1920's Los Angeles to highlight the new Buena Vista Street. Our host for this area was an actor playing an old time radio announcer - complete with impressions and sound effects. Various video segments, along with the static displays, told the story of Buena Vista Street and what guests can expect. Buena Vista Street represents Los Angeles as it was in the 1920's when Walt arrived with little more than "his suitcase and his dreams". Buena Vista Street actually starts with the entrance to California Adventure - the entrance turnstile area has been rebuilt to look like the Los Angeles' Pan Pacific Theater . The shops on Buena Vista street have been themed to have a connection to the young Walt Disney (Mortimer's Produce, Clarabelle's Ice Cream, Elias and Company) and the story is that they may have served as the inspiration for some of Walt's early stories and characters.

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Buena Vista Street ends in a new hub area with a new "partners" statue and a beautiful fountain that front the Carthay Circle Theater. Just in case you don't know the connection, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater in 1937. This Partners statue features a much younger Walt Disney and an earlier version of Mickey Mouse. The Carthay Circle Theater building will house three restaurants: a lounge downstairs that serves appetizers and "small plate" dishes, a full table service dining room upstairs that seats 200 inside and 56 more on the balcony, and the Club 33 associated private dining room - 1901.

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The fountain at the center of the new California Adventure hub. Image copyright ©Disney.

Running up and down Buena Vista Street and into the Hollywood area will be the two Red Car trolleys - based on the Pacific Electric Railroad trolleys that used to run in Los Angeles. Some interesting trivia for this attraction - the cars are based on the original Pacific Electric Railroad cars but are brand new and they are actually battery powered (so all the overhead wires are just set dressing). Their numbers are 623 (for 1923, the year Walt arrived in LA) and 717 (for the 7/17/55 opening day of Disneyland).

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Photos of various merchandise items that will be available in shops on Buena Vista Street


There are several new entertainment acts that have been created for Buena Vista Street. Five and Dime is a jazzy band (the Five) with vocalist Dime, who will perform from various locations using their car as their stage. The Red Car News Boys is a six-member group that will serve as the singing ambassadors of Buena Vista Street and may remind some of Disney's 'Newsies' movie and musical. Fans of the street performers in Disney Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World should enjoy the "Citizens of Buena Vista". These four characters include a policeman, a directionally-challenged messenger, a photographer and a slightly crazed dog lady and they will have impromptu interactions with guests making their way down Buena Vista Street. Guests will also regularly see Goofy dressed in a 20's era zoot suit on Buena Vista Street.

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Artist concept for Five and Dime. Image copyright ©Disney.

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A Red Car News Boy


Tomorrow "Cars Land" so be sure to check back!

May 15, 2012

Disney California Adventure Press Preview Part 2 - 5/10/12

Since Laura was in a week-long training class at work, I (Lee) had the opportunity to take her place at a press event Disney put on for Southern California media to get a look behind the scenes at all the changes coming to the Disneyland Resort this Summer - especially the opening of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land at California Adventure.

This is Part Two!

The next room of the Cast Showcase is all about Cars Land.

Static displays in this room included one of the Radiator Springs Racers, merchandise, and a snack area serving snack size Pop Cones from Sally's Cozy Cone. The flavor when we were there was a surprisingly tasty Dill Pickle popcorn. Like the other rooms this one featured a stage and video displays and a host - this one a shy overall-clad female car nut. The video showed here is the same video on the making of Cars Land that is currently showing in the Blue Sky Celler. It is a very good feature that includes John Lasseter talking about how the Cars movie came about and what his requirements were for a Cars Land, as well as many of the imagineers and executives responsible for bringing Cars Land to life. I highly recommend you see that featurette if you get a chance - it is an excellent look at how Disney theme park design works. The basic features of Cars Land have been well documented by Laura and Jason in other Disneyland Blog entries.

We did learn about the entertainment that will be in Cars Land. This includes continuous "meet and greets" with Mater and Lightning McQueen, Red the bashful firetruck who will serve as a mobile water play area for the kids and DJ's Dance & Drive - a rolling boom box that will try and get the guests to break out their dance moves. We also learned that Disney is planning for how popular Cars Land is expected to be - they will have early entry to Cars Land for selected guests, cast members with iPads with up-to-the-minute wait times to provide direction and the Fast Pass machines for Radiator Springs Racers will be next door at the entrance to Bug's Land (keeping folks just getting Fast Passes from clogging up Route 66). The other "entertainment" in Radiator Springs will be the nightly lighting of all the neon lights.

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A Radiator Springs Racer

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Artist concept for Red the Fire Engine who will provide entertainment....and a cool down. Image copyright ©Disney.

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Artist concept for DJ's Dance & Drive. Image copyright ©Disney.

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Several photos of merchandise (and food) available in Cars Land

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A flying tire sighting

The final room in the Cast Showcase was basically a movie theater with multiple displays. We were served cupcakes as we entered - supposedly pieces of the cake we baked in the first room - with "We Create Happiness" written on the top. This video presentation in this room was focused on the cast members themselves. It included a thank you from the Disney executives for the great work the cast members do, recognition that it is ultimately the cast members who have the most impact on the guests' experience, that they are the "final layer in the storytelling." There is an inspiring true story about "Johnny the Bagger" who, as a bagger in a grocery store, single-handedly changed the whole culture and customer experience of that store (Google it and you will find links to Youtube videos). The cast members are reminded about the importance of what Disney calls the "Four Keys" - safety, courtesy, show and efficiency. We learned that Disney even has an employee-to-employee recognition program for when a cast member observes another cast member who excels in one or more of the Four Keys. This movie ends with a series of heartfelt thank yous from guests to the cast members. I will admit that as a former cast member, that segment brought a tear to my eye.

That concluded our brief stint as cast members getting our training on all of the great coming attractions at Disneyland Resort. Now it was time to actually visit one of those attractions - the new Cars Land! We entered Cars Land from what I consider the "back" entrance which, once the fence is down, opens off the Pacific Wharf food service area. This entrance takes you in under a large rock arch and onto the road that skirts Ornament Valley. My first reaction was "wow!". Ornament Valley is huge and incredibly beautiful. Disney isn't kidding when they say Cars Land is an immersive experience. I got a kick out of watching all of the jaded members of the press corps stop in their tracks with their jaws open. Of course, we all then started to reach for our cameras before remembering that pictures were forbidden during this part of the event - so I'm sorry I can't share what I saw. In spite of peeking over the construction fence all during the construction process, this was the first time I was able to see back into the recess of the Cadillac Range to see the waterfall and the bridge in front of it - spectacular! I could see part of the track for the Radiator Springs Racers including a nifty looking hill/dip combo and the beginning of a very banked turn. Our Disney escorts eventually got us moving again and into Flo's V-8 Cafe for the rest of our program.

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Here is an image Disney provided to give you some idea what I saw. Artwork ©Disney

After a brief introduction by Mary Niven, Vice President of Disney California Adventure Park and Guest Services at the Disneyland Resort, Michele Gendreau, Director of Food and Beverage for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts led us through a too short, but very enjoyable tasting session. While we were drinking our healthy and very good Red's Apple Freeze frozen drinks she explained that the Food and Beverage folks also took a trip down Route 66 to experience it first hand and to get ideas for the food that should be served in Cars Land. Many of the restaurants on Route 66 seem like they are right out of the 50's and 60's, so Cars Land food will reflect that. One of the popular food trends of that time was spitfire rotisserie and much of Flo's food is cooked in that style - on several huge rotisseries in the kitchen. Cast members in costumes that would have made any diner owner proud quickly served us sample sizes of many dishes including:
- Citrus Roasted Turkey over mashed potatoes
- Sliced Port Loin with Coke BBQ Sauce
- Veggie Tater Bake (a vegetarian take on Shepherd's Pie)
- vegetarian baked beans
- chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shakes
- Frito Pie Cone in an edible cone shaped bread bowl
- Ugly Crust pies - inspired by the Mid Point Cafe in Adrian, Texas - including Apple and Cheddar, Chocolate Mud Pie, Blueberry-Peach and Strawberry-Rhubarb.

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Some of the food items available at Flo's V8 Diner

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The "Ugly Crust" Pies served at Flo's

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A sampling of the "cone food" served at Sally's Cozy Cone

It was all very good, even if we didn't really have time to savor it. Anyone who is a fan of diner food is going to love Flo's which will be counter service and seats 330 in a combination of inside seating (either looking at Radiator Springs or Ornament Valley) and outside seating. The chili and Frito cone was actually from Sally's Cozy Cone - which will serve all food in cones. The cone "bowls" are a very tasty bread that is sort of mid way between normal bread and pretzel bread. Spoons are optional and it is fun to just eat right out of the cone. There will be breakfast cones filled with eggs and sausage or bacon, and different cones the rest of the day including the chili and Chicken Verde. Sally's cone foods will also include several different flavors of Pop Cone, snack cones like pretzel and churro bites with dipping sauces and, of course, ice cream cones. We asked about alcohol in Cars Land and were told that Flo's will serve beer (including Bear Republic micro brews!) and wine. The frozen pomegranate or limeade drinks at the Cozy Cone are available with optional vodka.

The last part of our afternoon was a series of small group interviews with Disney executives. Our first interview session was with Alan Bruun, Creative Director of Entertainment for the Disneyland Resort. Alan told us that there are 18 new shows debuting this summer. He explained that the goal of California Adventure is to get everyone to see the world through the young Walt Disney's eyes - a place of wonder, inspiration, and excitement where we can all become dreamers ourselves. He expressed that one of the challenges is making 1920's era music, as will be heard on Buena Vista Street, attractive for a six-year-old, but he thinks they have done it. When asked how cast in stone the entertainment plans are, Alan explained that they plan to watch how the guests interact with the environment and the entertainment - things like where they stop, how close they get - and make changes accordingly. He also said they are already thinking about how they will do holiday decorations that fit into the story of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land.

Next we asked questions of Scott Giersch, Director of Merchandise Theme Parks and Resorts. He was excited because his team has been developing land and attraction-specific merchandise that will be exclusive to California Adventure. He says they have over 300 new items that can only be bought while in the Park. We asked him about his favorite items and he said there were too many, but then he did mention the John "Lassetire" statue and said that there will be several versions of the California Adventure Partners statue available at varying price ranges. He is also looking forward to seeing how the line of Ramone's Low and Slow merchandise is received. That seems to have potential to catch on with either or both SoCal car nuts and SoCal Latinos. The Ramone's line is also an area that can grow in a way that is consistent with, but not limited to, the Cars stories presented so far.

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Some of the available Ramone's Low and Slow merchandise

Mary Niven was our next interview subject. She was first asked for some more background on the Staff Showcase idea, which she said Disney has been using for about three years and was an outgrowth of seeing the impact immersive environments have on guests, so it made sense to do the same thing with cast members. She said that one of the key messages they are delivering to cast members is that they are empowered to do whatever they can to make the guest's day and they don't need a "suit" to make guest experience decisions. She also observed that many of the new young cast members may not even realize that Walt Disney was a real person, so it is important to fully train all the cast members in the overall story and theme for California Adventure. Mary also reinforced that Disney views this as a Park opening, as opposed to a land opening, where they have been opening the new California Adventure in phases. She expressed that the challenge when doing something of this scale is keeping all the different elements of Disney synchronized - imagineering, park operations, food and beverage, merchandise, human relations, etc. The Cars Land effort has been so successful that it is being held up as a best practice for the rest of Disney Parks and Resorts to emulate. Mary explained that the Disneyland Resort is in the process of adding 2300 new cast members in anticipation of increased demand once the new California Adventure is fully open. She also noted that all but 175 of those new cast members are already on-board. She said that opening a new land or attraction is an exciting opportunity for the cast members and that they gave existing cast members an option to move to Cars Land. Mary also noted that Cars Land was special because Disney was willing to make the investment to allow the imagineers to create a truly amazing set.

Our final Disney executive was Michele Gendreau so we talked about all the food we had just sampled. She gave a few more details on Carthay Circle including that Andrew Sutton will be the Executive Chef, the cuisine will be "farm to table" with great seafood but it will also have a great burger at lunch. It will have an extensive wine list (250 wines) and will feature several micro brewery beers including some from the local Anaheim Brewery. Mary also noted that reservations for Carthay Circle opened on 5/10/12. We ended up in a brief discussion of various styles of BBQ and we learned that the Big Thunder Ranch, which is inspired by an actual ranch in Colorado, serves authentic Colorado-style BBQ. We also learned that fruit carts in the Parks have become very popular and they are increasing the number of places you can buy fruit in the Parks to six in response to that. Finally she said that they keep looking for healthy options to add to the menus and that each location has at least one vegetarian option.

With that, our time was over and we were escorted back out of Cars Land and California Adventure. I learned lots of interesting things, enjoyed getting a first look at the nearly complete Cars Land and even enjoyed reliving some of my too few days as a Disneyland cast member. California Adventure has always been one of my favorite Disney parks. It provided a ready escape when Disneyland was too crowded. It was fresh and new and more roomy and celebrated the culture of my native state. It had a few really good attractions (California Screamin' is still the best Disney roller coaster) and many good places to eat. Unfortunately, it never really took off in its original form and Disney has addressed that by adding more Disney character-driven attractions and, now, by shifting the story the park represents to one that should be embraced by more guests. After today's behind the scenes look, I am even more excited about the June 15th opening of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land.

May 18, 2012

Dining at Sanaa

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Sanaa has become one of our favorite Disney restaurants - we look at the menu and it all looks good, and we have a hard time deciding what we want! They updated their menu within the last couple of months, so there were some new items since our dinner there in December.

We had a really terrific server, Rico, who made the evening an even better experience. He was really good about telling us what was new and suggesting things we might like to try.

For those not familiar with it, Sanaa offers more of an Indian-style cuisine along with some African-inspired dishes, including a variety of Tandoor oven dishes and curries.
Sanaa also has a wonderful selection of vegetarian dishes. While I am not a vegetarian, I don't eat a lot of meat, and I really enjoy a good vegetarian dish. At Sanaa it's a difficult decision! Fortunately their Vegetarian Sampler allows you to select two different dishes, so I only have to whittle it down to two.

One of the other special things about Sanaa - it's on ground level of Kidani Village, with windows that look right out onto the Sunset Savanna. And they conveniently have feeding stations near the windows, so there are almost always giraffe or zebra grazing within view. We did not have a window table this time, but we still could get a glimpse of what was going on outside. At one point there were several zebra and an impala that were running laps - we weren't sure who was chasing who, though it looked like the impala was just kicking up its heels and showing off how effortlessly it could run as compared to the rather lumbering zebras. :-)

But back to our dinner...

As our appetizers we ordered the Potato and Pea Samosas and the Lamb Kefta. The samosas are always good - a little bit spicy but not too hot for me.

Dining at Sanaa

The Lamb Kefta meatballs seemed to have a lot more of a kick this time - these were too hot for me, so Lee got to have the extra one.

Dining at Sanaa

We also ordered the Bread Service, with Naan, Papadum, and Paneer Paratha. The bread service includes three types of bread and your choice of four sauces (there are 8 or 9 on the menu). I could make a meal just out of this! The naan is usually served fresh out of the cooker but this time it had been sitting around for a while and was a little tough.

Dining at Sanaa

We REALLY liked the paneer paratha - I don't think we'd had that one before. It has paneer cheese on top, and it was just delicious - it didn't need any of the accompaniments! I always enjoy the papdum, too - it's cracker-like but has a distinct crunch and flavor.

Dining at Sanaa

They have two new sauces: coconut chutney, and jalapeno lime. We tried the jalapeno lime and it was definitely kicky - not my favorite. I thought we were trying the coconut curry, also, but that didn't seem to be on the plate. We also had the cucumber raita, mango chutney, and red chile sambal.

Dining at Sanaa

I tried two of the items from the Vegetarian Sampler: Spicy Cauliflower, Onions, Tomatoes and Mint and Vindaloo-Style Vegetables. They came with basmati rice. The "spicy" part in the first refers to the flavors and not the heat - it was very mild, but really tasty and flavorful. The Vindaloo was a little hotter, but still on the mild side, and it was also good. It had potatoes, squash, and a little bit of cauliflower in it. (I was very happy that none of the dishes contained red or green peppers!)

Dining at Sanaa

Lee had two of the Slow Cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well Seasoned dishes - Spicy Durban Chicken and Lamb Vindaloo, served with five-grain pilaf. They were both very tasty, but I thought they were skimpy on the meat, especially when compared with the chock-full-of-vegetables dishes that I had. (We did share!)

Dining at Sanaa

We also ordered two of the wine flights - we'd enjoyed those very much in December. They were quite different than what was available in December - different names, different wines. I had the Sustainable flight, which included a nouveau blanc, a chenin blanc, and a merlot-cabernet franc blend. The two whites were very nice - light and refreshing. The red was fine, but not remarkable in any way.

Dining at Sanaa

Lee tried the Durban, which was three red wines: Chakalaka, a red blend called "The First Lady", and a Malbec from Argentina. He enjoyed the first and the third, but the second didn't have a lot of flavor (I tried it and I thought the same).

Dining at Sanaa

For a change we actually had room for dessert - though we split one. I still have to say that dessert is the weakest part of the Sanaa menu - there's nothing I look at and say: "Oh, that looks great!" We ordered the Warm Rice Pudding - with Mango, Pistachio Tuile and Cinnamon Cream. Our server was hesitant on this one - it's not traditional rice pudding, and apparently only about 50% of the people who order it like it. It's not pudding consistency - it's grains of rice with a sweet sauce and chunks of mango. But that's what we were expecting, since we thought it would be like the sticky rice with mango dessert that we always order from our favorite Thai place back home. It was similar, so we were not disappointed (though I have to say the one we get at home was a LOT better than this one - this one wasn't sweet enough and the mango wasn't really ripe).

Dining at Sanaa

Overall it was a wonderful meal! Lee said it was just a warm-up training meal to get us ready for the cruise. :-)

Sanaa is open for lunch and dinner. The lunch menu is similar to the dinner menu, though they also offer a selection of sandwiches at lunch.

Sanaa Lunch Menu
Sanaa Dinner Menu

May 19, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, May 18, 2012. Highlights include the new Cars Land-inspired monorails with their new narrations, Matterhorn bobsled testing and the new Brave Meet and Greet as well as updated construction photos from Buena Vista Street and Cars Land, opening June 15!


The scaffolding is down around the La Brea Bakery.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

This year they are doing grad nite differently than they traditionally have. This year grads get a park hopper ticket and wristband. They can visit both parks all day long then after Disneyland closes they have their party until the early morning hours. So as the day went on more and more graduates showed up in the park which made for a different experience and crowd pattern.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

There was no line and the bus was boarding so I hopped on for an elevated view of Main Street. Minnie waving as we passed by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


A check in on Carnation Cafe.. it opens June 13th and work was going on all day and into the evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


The Matterhorn has water flowing again and bobsleds were being cycled.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Hard to see what is going on at Plaza Gardens. Looks like much of the concrete and retaining wall on the North side are gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

First destination of the day was the Small World Mall to check out the Brave Meet and Greet. As you approach there are banners up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

And some signs.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

There are activities and some games too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

There is an archery range as part of the area too, so after your picture is taken you can go shoot a bow and arrow.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The cast members assist you with a quick lesson as the paparazzi snaps pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A closer look at the bow and arrow.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


A couple tables for coloring.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A game to test your skill.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

These were interesting. Some stones that you can create rubbings with (thank you David for letting us know the process name).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Moving on, the seagulls are still gone from the sub lagoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The menu boards at Tomorrowland Terrace are now LCD screens, reminds me of WDW.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Wandered down the trail to the Jamboree next. The cows that were lurking are now gone... wonder where they have wandered off to now, probably backstage hanging out again.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow were out for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Next up the Monorail. They are promoting Cars Land so each has a name and personality now. Here is Mona Monorail in the Tomorrowland Station. I thought the wrap was pretty well done. It is not as over the top as the previous ones.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Here is a video of the ride to Downtown Disney, the narrations have been replaced and customized per train.

A look in on Buena Vista Street.A check of the Red Car stop.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The signage on Buena Vista Street looks great.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Notice all the sidewalks are in now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The return trip from Downtown Disney to Tomorrowland aboard Mona Monorail.

Very close to getting a great shot of a new bobsleds splashing down.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


A fun hidden mickey on the dock...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A new sled going by the redone bridge.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Manny Monorail going over the Sub Lagoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Alice Davis received a window on Main Street since my last visit. It is right next to the one for her husband, Marc Davis.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Time to head to DCA.. only four weeks, 28 days, till the grand openings.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Noticed the awnings are gone from the entrance now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Minnie arriving at her Charter Airlines. Today she had the full-featured head, with blinking eyes and moving mouth.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Taste Pilots has a tarp up as they work on the building where the plane was attached.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The cafe signage is now done.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A great hand-painted sign.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The sign out front is installed now too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Another great sign being painted.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Time to check out the Studios portion of Hollywood Land which has been taken over by the Mad T Party.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The Drink Me bar.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Props have been installed on the stage. The stage will feature a live band.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The House of Cards bar area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


The sound stage number has been updated to fit the party.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The food truck has received a new wrap.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The Bugs Life references have been removed from the mural and it is being repainted. Wonder if they are down for the painting or gone forever.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A look down Route 66, which now has striping on it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Wires now strung on the poles.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The traffic light has been installed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Most of the construction is done so there are now groups roaming around with no hard hats (the crews on either side were laying sod).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A sod crew working near the Cozy Cones, notice the fence too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Spotted this new Cars inspired outdoor vending (ODV) cart.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The menu

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The scaffolding is down from around Ghirardelli

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12



A new billboard along the boardwalk between Ariel's and California Screamin' (the second one from the left).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

While looking at ODV carts.. here is one out on the Pier.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Time for a spin on the Fun Wheel. There were two Racers stopped on the track.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

I think this helps with the scale.. remember those are 6 passenger cars, just like Test Track.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


The signage is great..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Looks like they are working on the clovers in Flik's Fun Fair...notice all the white tops...the green has been removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

I did not get a good picture.. but as I was wrapping up my first trip on the wheel they started to cycle the Racers. By this second go around (15 minutes or so later) they were running. Had to take a couple pictures of what I called the USC race!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

More props and equipment for the T-Party backstage awaiting installation.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A second look from the Blue Sky Cellar patio, now that the workers have cleared out for the day.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Noticed they have replaced the individual packets of condiments in Taste Pilots with these pumps now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Monorail Manny in Tomorrowland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A video from onboard Manny from Tomorrowland to Downtown Disney.

A look at the Mad T Party, noticed plenty of lights on the tower even.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

A large sign for the event on the back of the stage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

More signage for Buena Vista Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Video of the return trip.

Rumble King at the Tomorrowland Terrace

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

The Brave Meet and Greet wrapped up at 3:00pm today.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Some of the lights were on at the Carthay this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Also some lights on at the House of Cards.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


The Tower of Terror area was very crowded this evening. A two hour wait! It appeared to be mostly Grad Nite kids.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

No neon on when I first arrived to check out Cars Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Looks like they were set up for something, notice the microphone stands. In the background you could see groups of cast members heading for the Racers where they were doing testing/previews this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Then all of a sudden the lights all came on... crummy picture but you get the drift..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


The lights in the cafe were on this evening and you could see the stained glass window.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Some water art being created on Main Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Time for Fantasmic which turned 20 last Sunday!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


Afterwards we roamed around the Rivers of America and down the Big Thunder trail as Magical was going on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Made it into Fantasyland as Tinkerbell was taking her final flight.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12


To close with the Matterhorn waterfalls - they have some great new lighting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/18/12

Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



May 28, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, May 25, 2012. Part 1 features photos of the newly revealed Carthay Circle area, and construction updates from DCA, Disneyland, and Downtown Disney.

La Brea Bakery reopened earlier today. They still have finishing touches like the covering over the outdoor dining area to wrap up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


The entrance for the table service location.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

The express entrance.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

A walk through.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

There is an exhibition kitchen area where they were making bread. As you can see they still have some finishing touches, the top is still temporary.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


Last Sunday prices went up on all tickets. Notice a one day park hopper is now $125 and a Premium Annual Pass is $649.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

No visible progress on Taste Pilots.. curious to see what it will look like.. if they are painting a sign on or just patching it up so the design is finished.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Heading toward Carthay Circle. The walls have been taken down around the Carthay and moved back to reveal the fountain.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


The central fountain. The tips on the posts around the fountain are interesting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


The new Buena Vista Street trash can design.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


The Carthay entrance. There were a couple of cast members positioned outside to answer questions.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


They agreed to model their costumes for me.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

They were answering questions as well as handing out cards with some info on the Carthay.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Some more area pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

The walkway down Hollywood Blvd.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Both the pedestals (where the elephants used to be) are uncovered.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

More signage has been painted on the buildings.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

An emergency exit for the Carthay.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


A look at the plaque on the wall.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


The level of detail on the building is great!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


The new sight line toward Condor Flats. I can see why the jet was removed. At night the Soarin' sign was a little out of place too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1
A closer look at some of the details on Buena Vista Street.
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


Moving on to Hollywood Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Mad T Party merchandise is now available in Gone Hollywood.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


Jake hanging out for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

A new sign up at the Red Car stop..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

The Tough to Be a Bug theater is behind a tarp as the mural is repainted.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Cars Land was a live with activity as Cast Members were being allowed to preview Maters. I could not tell if they were heading to the other two or not.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


Looks like this stairwell is next for the painters.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

The walls around the Cove Bar are down, but a tarp is still up around the bar area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

A new ramp to get in.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


More new billboards along the Pier.

The ice cream line got in the way of this picture.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

The one from last week..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Thought this was a fun one.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


Hmm.. they have painted the Tough to Be a Bug theater building all blue, the mural was covered it appears.. wonder what it will be once completed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


Time for Disneyland. Main Street is all Red, White, and Blue for the Memorial Day weekend (and then summer).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Blocking our view of the ongoing work at Carnation Cafe.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

The new signs have been installed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


Demo work is continuing in Plaza Gardens

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

No water flowing today, but sleds were still being cycled on the Matterhorn.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


The Toy Shop now features a selection of Brave merchandise.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


Merida made the display in the middle.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


The BBQ area is decked out for summer now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Mickey and Minnie out in the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree area. In mid-June Billy Hill and the Hillbillies will be moving out here to perform throughout the day.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

The shooting exposition has reopened.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

No real changes jumped out.. the roof area looked to be redone and some other repainting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

The sun was out by this point in the afternoon and it was a great day.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


The sea gulls have not returned yet.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1


Time for a ride, this time on Manny Monorail. Looking North as we passed through DCA, they were installing the Five and Dime sign.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

The Red Car stop.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

A closer look at the sign and beyond it Oswalds.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Soundsational making its way down the parade route.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

A second pass this time looking South. First up the Mad T Party.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Then Buena Vista Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Since it is Memorial Day weekend thought it fitting to watch the Flag Retreat followed by a visit to Mr. Lincoln.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Flag Retreat video of the Armed Forces Medley and then the Star Spangled Banner.

The flags coming down.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Next up Great Moments.. no photography allowed inside the main theater.. so this is the only picture today.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

The Uva bar in Downtown Disney is still behind walls. You could smell a lot of fresh paint so I am guessing it will open soon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

The Lego store is celebrating its grand re-opening this weekend with a giant build of its mascot.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

You can participate by creating a section and then you can get a certificate. There were other promotions going on inside too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Earl of Sandwich is behind walls.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 1

Part 2 will include photos and video from the new Mad T Party and the summer edition of "The Magic, the Memories, and You!".

For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



May 29, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com visited the parks on Friday, May 25, 2012. Included here in Part 2 are photos and video from the new Mad T Party and the summer edition of the Magic, the Memories, and You!


Another pass through Carthay Circle on my way to Hollywood Land - the clouds had cleared out.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

The Mad T Party installation is complete and the party began on Friday night.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


The Drink Me bar ready to start serving.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

The menu.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

The Face Painting area is now on Sunset Blvd instead of next to Muppets.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

The stage at the House of Cards is ready to go.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

They were stocking the food truck.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Chairs to sit in around the area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

A token machine for the arcade located outside by the House of Cards.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


The crowd waiting for the Mad T Party to start.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


A count down clock.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

The Tweedles take the stage to do the opening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Video of the final countdown and opening of the Mad T Party.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

A video clip of the Mad T Party Band plus introductions of the band members.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


Alice joins the Mad T Party band.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


The Mad T Party Band performing.


The White Rabbit DJ took over next.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Action shifted to the House of Cards stage for a dance crew.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Video of their performance.

Next up this interesting performer.. guess it is a caterpillar

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

A video clip from the performance.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

A walk around the mad arcade.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


The merchandise location was open for business.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


The Tweedles out interacting with the crowd.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

More chairs in front of the other stage. I never saw any groups take this stage in my couple of passes through.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Time to move on.. I will double back later. Wow 135 minute wait for Tower.. Grad Nite!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

The lights were coming on in Radiator Springs.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

This evening they had the lights on the range changing color.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

A brief video clip.

The summer edition of the Magic, the Memories, and You! started today. Here is a video of the entire show. Note there is a problem with the left and center video/projectors about half way through.. but you can see the summer add on.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


A couple pictures of the new segment.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Back over to DCA for some nighttime shots. Oswald's sign was on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Some pictures of Carthay Circle after dark.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


A peak inside thanks to the inside lights being on and the curtain thin.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Heading back to the Mad T Party as the band was wrapping up their final set of the evening.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


Another clip of the rainbow caterpillar.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


There are projections on the buildings that are now visible.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

A video clip of the projections.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

A second pass through the arcade.. much less crowded this time around.

The tokens..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

The Monsters Inc facade is woven into the show much better.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

Video of the Monsters Inc projections.

One last picture as I head out of the Mad T Party.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2

To close with a fountain picture.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 5/25/12, Part 2


Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



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About May 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in May 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2012 is the previous archive.

June 2012 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.